Where’s the Media Apology on BS IRS “Scandal”?

From “How the media outrageously blew the IRS scandal:  A full accounting,” Alex Seitz-Wald, Salon:

“While the initial reports about the IRS targeting looked pretty bad, suggesting that agents singled out tax-exempt applications for Tea Party and conservative groups for extra scrutiny, the media badly bungled the controversy when supposedly sober journalists like Bob Woodward and Chuck Todd jumped to conclusions and assumed the worst from day one. Instead of doing more reporting to discover the true nature and context of the IRS targeting, or at least waiting for their colleagues to do some, the supposedly liberal mainstream press let their eagerness to show they could be just as tough on a Democratic White House as a Republican one get ahead of the facts. We expect politicians to stretch reality to fit a narrative, but the press should be better.

“And they would have gotten away with it, too, had their narrative had the benefit of being true. But now, almost two months later, we know that in fact the IRS targeted lots of different kinds of groups, not just conservative ones; that the only organizations whose tax-exempt statuses were actually denied were progressive ones; that many of the targeted conservative groups legitimately crossed the line; that the IG’s report was limited to only Tea Party groups at congressional Republicans’ request; and that the White House was in no way involved in the targeting and didn’t even know about it until shortly before the public did.

“In short, the entire scandal narrative was a fiction. But it had real consequences, effectively derailing Obama’s agenda not long after a resounding reelection, costing several people their careers, and distracting and misinforming the public. It’s not that nothing went wrong at the IRS, but that the transgression merited nowhere near the media response it earned. But instead of acknowledging its error or correcting the record, the mainstream political press has simply moved on to the next game.”

The whole piece is worth a read, as Seitz-Wald also calls out David Gregory, Jon Stewart, Andrea Mitchell, Chris Matthews, and Robert Gibbs for taking the bait so credulously without doing their homework.

What a Recall Vote Means

Sometimes I just want to shake David Brooks.  Today, after reading his column “The Debt Indulgence,” is one of those days.

He writes “A vote to keep [Wisconsin Governor Scott] Walker won’t be an anti-union vote.”

Huh?  Walker wasn’t content to get concessions from the public unions, which they readily gave, he was determined to crush them.  This wasn’t about balancing Wisconsin’s budget now, it was about talking away collective bargaining rights forever.  And Walker has admitted that his “divide and conquer” strategy was to first go after the public unions, then the private unions, and turn Wisconsin, birthplace of the progressive movement, into a Right to Work state.  He’s working for the Koch Brothers, who want to destroy unions across the country so they can’t provide campaign contributions to act as a counterweight to those from conservative groups.

So I don’t see how you can interpret a vote for Walker as anything other than an anti-union vote.

Brooks warns that a vote against Walker isn’t a vote for the idea of keeping unions alive, it is somehow a vote against reducing deficits:

“[I]f he is recalled that will send a broader message, with effects far beyond Wisconsin.  It will be a signal that voters are indeed unwilling to tolerate tough decisions to reduce debt.”

This is not true.  The public unions themselves were willing to tolerate tough decisions to reduce debt.  If Walker were recalled, it would be a signal that voters are not willing to tolerate unfairness and bullying and over-reaching.  Walker didn’t run in 2010 on a platform of stripping public union rights.  He went way beyond what the people of Wisconsin expected and elected him to do.

I agree with this guy:

“I’m not a complete fan of the way Walker went about reducing debt.  In an age of tough choices one bedrock principle should be:  We’re all in this together.  If you are going to cut from the opposing party’s interest groups, you should also cut from some of your own.  That’s how you build trust and sustain progress, one administration to the next. … Walker didn’t do that.  He just sliced Democrats. … Walker’s method was obnoxious….”

That’s David Brooks, in the same column!

Mitt Doesn’t Have a Problem, Mitt Is the Problem

Peter Suderman disputes Molly Ball’s article in The Atlantic  criticizing Mitt’s campaign staff (which I blogged about previously) and argues that the problem is Mitt himself:*

“But given Romney’s political record—an incredibly complex flip flop on abortion, business fee hikes used as a cover for tax hikes, embracing the word “progressive,” and supporting a state-level model for ObamaCare—conservative policy elites were always likely to be wary of Romney. A little more outreach [to conservative elites] might have softened the skepticism, but it also might have illustrated how little Romney likes to be challenged on questions about his policy decisions, and how slippery he can be when anyone tries to pin him down. Romney isn’t struggling because of his campaign. The campaign is struggling because of Romney.

“When it comes to policy, Romney is not and never has been someone driven by a big vision. RomneyCare is the closest he’s ever come to a bold policy initiative, but even that was conceived mostly as a narrow technical fix to the insurance market. As far as I can tell, the only big vision Romney’s ever had is of himself, sitting in the Oval Office. Which seems to be more or less what his campaign is running on.”  Emphasis added.

Amen to Suderman.  Mitt lacks the empathy to run and the leadership to govern.

*  “Romney’s Problem Isn’t His Campaign,” Reason